Guest blog by Michael Coscetta
This is the most common question we are asked by customers – and the importance of this question multiplies when a customer is new to the world of enabling their partners with marketing. From a logical standpoint, there is no more efficient way to grow vendor revenue than through partners or affiliates. These partners magnify and amplify the reach of the vendor’s products and messaging, and they enable a large global company to penetrate even the smallest, most niche markets.
How do you enable these partners in an efficient and cost-effective way? I will walk you through 5 key considerations to implementing a best practice channel marketing program:
1. Different partners will need different things
A best practice channel marketing program has different content and different tools for various partner types. Remember that the word “partners” encompasses a diverse set of characteristics: From your small VAR to a mid-market solution partner or DMR, to the ISV and OEM partners, and to the distributors – they all need different support to make them effective at selling your products. Many VARs may not have the time or resources to dedicate a team to marketing, so they will require more turnkey campaigns and will appreciate access to an easy-to-use marketing automation system (but not YOUR Marketo or Eloqua); the large DMRs may have a robust marketing organization but will need easy access to vendor content that is customizable enough for a CDW or a Presidio to feel comfortable using.
2. Simplicity and ease of access
Partners are busy. Partners want to sell. Partners often represent many brands and products. Vendors need to make it EASY for their partners to market on their behalf. I have seen some partner portals that look more like labyrinth clones and IQ test mazes than they do places where a partner would ever want to go. Just adding tools and content will not cause partners to do more marketing. Give them an easy way of finding and accessing marketing content, and allow them to do all of their marketing from one system, preferably while using their single sign on (SSO) credentials.
3. If you JUST build it, they will likely NOT come
Through Partner Marketing starts with to partner marketing. Best practice says to keep your partners updated with what’s newly available to them, and not just through email. Engage your partners through social media, through webinars, and through live events to capture their attention, and market to them as if they were your customers. In effect, they are.
4. B2B marketing today is complicated. Make it easy for your partners to be good marketers
It’s obvious that with the proliferation of marketing tools and with the explosion of marketing data, that effective marketing has become a mountain many partners can’t climb. Email alone doesn’t work; social media is great, but it doesn’t generate leads; webinars are incredibly effective, but they are time consuming and burdensome to produce. Package all of these multi-channel tools (and more!) into integrated campaigns, and allow your partners to execute them in one click! This is not marketing magic, and it’s not vaporware; it just requires planning and support from the vendor. Think of all the amazing sophisticated tactics you have for your direct marketing, and brainstorm what you would like to extend into the channel.
5. It’s not all about leads!
Within the best practice channel marketing programs I have seen, vendors understand that success isn’t just measured by transactions (# emails, # social posts, # leads). Too many vendors want to track every lead, and every marketing metric, all in search of the elusive channel marketing ROI. This is shortsighted (and very difficult!). Success is manifold, and the KPIs that garner the successful moniker can differ company to company. For one company, partner engagement (actually having the ear and the eye of the partner) may be the first milestone; for another, the key mission may be expanding the reach that the vendor has through the partners (focusing on improving partner mailing lists, increasing partner social connections, etc). By simply providing better, more effective marketing support to partners, vendors can go a long way in gaining and retaining the attention of their very busy, but very important, partner ecosystem.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Coscetta, StructuredWeb
Michael Coscetta is the VP of Sales and Marketing for StructuredWeb, a leading provider of channel marketing software and services to global companies such as: Cisco, VMware, GE, EMC, Canon and many others. StructuredWeb helps companies leverage their partners’ digital connections to reach, influence and drive more end customers to buy their products. Michael has extensive experience in SaaS/technology sales, global B2B sales training, and channel marketing. He graduated with honors from Harvard University and is very active in both the university alumni network and the NYC startup community. Also he serves on the Board of Directors for the Front Row Foundation. Learn more about him on LinkedIn.
- 1 1. Different partners will need different things
- 2 2. Simplicity and ease of access
- 3 3. If you JUST build it, they will likely NOT come
- 4 4. B2B marketing today is complicated. Make it easy for your partners to be good marketers
- 5 5. It’s not all about leads!
- 6 ABOUT THE AUTHOR